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Groups challenge East China Township DTE plant approval

A coalition of environmental groups is appealing the Michigan Public Service Commission’s approval of a new natural gas power plant slated for East China Township next year.

The Environmental Law and Policy Center, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Ecology Center, the Solar Energy Industries Association and Vote Solar recently joined together to petition the Michigan Court of Appeals to reverse the MPSC’s April decision.

East China Plant

The groups contend DTE did not meet the legal standard required to justify the $1 billion investment.

“DTE did not provide sufficient analysis for the MPSC to be able to compare its plant to cleaner, reliable and more affordable options that would save customers money,” Vote Solar Senior Director of Western States Becky Stanfield said. “MPSC responded by decrying the lack of clear analysis but approving the plant anyway while urging DTE to do a better job in its next plan. It should have required DTE to start over.”

“We are at a turning point in the electric industry, and our concern is that DTE is rushing the plant through without considering whether it really is needed, in light of newer, cleaner and less costly alternatives.” - Margrethe Kearney, senior attorney at the Environmental Law & Policy Center

The filing states more than a dozen groups opposed DTE’s initial request. Testimony from experts affiliated with the opposition presented evidence supporting their claim that DTE did not fairly evaluate alternatives to the new plant.

“We are at a turning point in the electric industry, and our concern is that DTE is rushing the plant through without considering whether it really is needed, in light of newer, cleaner and less costly alternatives,” said Margrethe Kearney, senior attorney at the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “It is critical that the MPSC be required to fully and faithfully implement the law to ensure that Michigan customers are not on the hook to pay for last-century technology when a clean, modern grid is more affordable now.”

Read the rest of the story at the Voice


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